Tron: Evolution Multiplayer Hands-On Preview – Seeing The Light
Written Sunday, October 17, 2010 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
We were far too young to appreciate Tron upon its original release back in 1982, seeing as we were only about one month old at the time [Ed – Well, you might have been Rich!]. Watching it now is just too difficult, as time hasn't been particularly kind to the movie's 28 year old visuals, which were once considered groundbreaking but now look, well, more than a little dated. Of course, a good story is timeless and there's a reason why Tron is still considered a cult favourite and it's presumably the same reason why Disney is bringing a sequel to multiplexes in December.
And so, as with almost every blockbuster movie these days, there has to be a tie-in game, which in Tron's case, actually makes perfect sense as the premise and setting lends itself perfectly to a video game. Before we started playing the multiplayer aspect of the game for our hands-on however, we're first treated to a whole eight minutes of the forthcoming movie, Tron: Legacy in 3D, which we have to say looks pretty damn impressive, even if a youngified Jeff Bridges looks a bit too eerie for us. Next, we're shown a brief overview of the single-player narrative, which tells the story of how a new race called the 'Isos' evolved from the digital soup and formed their own society.
The story spans the years from 1982 to 2010, as megabytes have given way to gigabytes (gigabytes weren't even a thing back in 1982) and the whereabouts of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is unknown in the wake of the Isos' coming into being. You play as Anon (a program written by Flynn to investigate the Isos) in Tron: Evolution's virtual reality Tron world, where you need to track down Kevin Flynn and find the truth behind the Isos, while engaging in some disc-throwing combat and free-flowing parkour acrobatics.
These very same mechanics also extend to Tron: Evolution's multiplayer, which is why we're sat in a swanky London hotel with the game. Evolution's buzz phrase is 'high mobility combat', which essentially involves a lot of wall-running and fighting inspired by the Brazilian martial art of capoeira. Holding the right trigger enables you to pull off these athletic feats, causing you to sprint and seamlessly go into wall-runs, vaults or huge leaps.
As far as the action is concerned, Evolution's combat mixes melee attacks and special moves with Tron's iconic throwing disc projectile. As you'd expect, it invariably descends into frantic button-bashing during a heated multiplayer match, but there is a dose of strategy as you're able to make a hasty retreat and wall-run across one of the energy bats embedded in the landscape of Tron: Evo's world. In Team Deathmatch (Disintegration), you need to make contact with your team's coloured bar to restore health as the opposing team's bar drains it.
Evolution's fighting system is supposed to be simple enough for casual and advanced players alike, and for the most part, it seems to work rather well. For the more hardcore player however, it's entirely possible that the appeal could wear thin over time, although in the short time we played the game, we found the combat satisfying enough, with an emphasis on well-timed blocks, rolls and parries proving fluid and responsive.
The next multiplayer game type we sample has two teams – orange vs. blue – competing for control over their coloured nodes, which you need to capture and turn to your colour. It's fast-paced and fun, but not nearly as enjoyable as the final section of the multiplayer, which lets us activate a Light Cycle with the right bumper. Unlike traditional Tron however, you're not restricted by 90-degree turns, although they're mapped to the left and right bumpers if you want to stick to the old-school Tron rules.
Blazing light trails as you ride across the map, creates temporary barriers that derezz (kill in Tron parlance) opposing players if they crash into them. Quickly the map becomes a huge network of light trails scribbled all over the place, making it increasingly difficult to avoid getting derezzed as you race around. Still, even when you're losing, it's enormous fun, especially if you're fast enough to commandeer one of the two platforms where a Light Tank is parked. Jump into one of these tanks and you'll dominate the neon-drenched battlefield, derezzing light bikes left, right and centre.
Tron: Evolution's multiplayer might be chaotic, but it has the potential to be something worth dipping into when you fancy a change from single-player. Your avatar levels up persistently between both multiplayer and single-player, so you'll always be advancing your character no matter what it is you're doing in the game. Loadouts and currency (MB) to purchase new upgrades ought to add some extra depth and longevity, and there's a lot to be said for racing along on a Light Cycle at high speed, jumping off a ramp and throwing a disc into someone's face.
Tron: Evolution is pencilled in for a November 26th and December 7th release in Europe and North America respectively.